Kam Nelson
9th Street West
& the Go-Go Sixties

From 1967-1969 Kam Nelson was a featured dancer and co-host of  KHJ Channel 9 TV's "Ninth Street West" dance show. Well actually her sidekick hostess role was subordinate to main honcho and Boss Jock Sam Riddle, but who looked at him?

During the summers of 1968 and 1969, my Reseda High School friends Tom Miles, Bill Converse and I hung out with this teenie-bopper surf princess at Sorrento Beach in Santa Monica, a 1/4 mi south of the Jonathan Beach Club.

Kam was a Teen Magazine model, semi-famous and successful, and at just 18 she was living by herself in the high-rise apartments above the bluffs near Ocean Avenue at 123 California & Second Street. She'd walk down the California Incline and cross PCH to Sorrento. She was unusual not only for her lack of vanity, but for her contentment at being alone. Most surf bunny curvy types seemed to need an entourage to bestow incessant sycophantic worship. Or they at least wanted a Rhoda nearby to accentuate their Elizabeth Montgomery.

But Kam would invariably be by herself, reading on the sand. Although she was self-contained, she did enjoy the comraderie of  Tom, Bill and I, perhaps because we recognized that we were too young and trivial to dare hit on her, and that gave her a reprieve from the invasive pressures of being a teen idol. Tom and Bill used to say she liked them for their striking tans and card-playing expertise, but I am sure it was my sparkling personality that won her attention. That and my remarkable Frisbee skills.

Kam got us on the 9th Street West show several times, and it was not easy to get through those doors. I felt a taste of  VIP being ushered past disappointed hopefuls standing on Melrose who would not be granted access to the dance floor festivities that particular evening.

Sorry, but our 9th Street West appearances pre-dated VCR's and Betamax, so there's no footage of us stomping & watusiing in our sports coats, flood pants & string ties, trying to look serious and cool.

9th Street West had a few iterations, including 9th Street a Go-Go and Hollywood a Go-Go (Real Don Steele). Sometimes the show would film at the Santa Monica Pier, just south of Sorrento, so Kam lived conveniently almost on location.
After 9th Street West she co-hosted The Groovy Show with Robert W. Morgan & Michael Blodgett.

She later married Bob Seagren, world record holder & Olympic Gold medalist in the pole vault.

Karate Kam! Sorrento Beach Grill, from a surfer's viewpoint.
Kam out front with The Turtles Kam may be in this Bo Diddley clip (no audio)
Kam & Charlie Tuna - Beatles night outasight with James Brown
Room 222 opening credits: glimpse of Kam
aka: Cam Nelson,
Kameron K. Seagren
the Lloyd Thaxton Channel 13 dance show
related: Ninth Street West, Boss City, Lloyd Thaxton Show, ABC's "Malibu U" & "Where the Action Is" learn to Go-Go dance

© 1962-2012 Derrick Garbell   Updated 22 July 2012        Reseda High Student Page